Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 11.23.25 AMI respect the fact that people have differing opinions and beliefs. I also am fully aware that there are always two sides to every story. But even though I’m not an expert theologian or a professional reporter, I can say this Newsweek article is highly unfortunate. Good for business I suppose, but potentially an unwarranted problem for those of us that know the beauty of the Church and following Jesus.  If you have not read it I recommend you do so at some point. I cannot take the time to personally address or affirm all the points made in the article, but I will share a few thoughts on this, albeit blunt thoughts. College students and others you work with will likely hear about this, so here are a few bullet points to maybe keep in mind upfront:

  1. Clearly stated bias. Thankfully the author clearly states his bias in the beginning. He doesn’t state it as a “bias” and anyone somewhat disgruntled with the Church or Christianity will resonate with his statements, which is a bummer. But, those with some intellectual honesty can easily realize this is being written from a bias perspective.
  2. Not-so-good reporting. With the tone of getting to the truth, this sadly does not “report” much but instead states a particular perspective as the facts. And the author doesnt state sources but rather makes swooping statements like “all modern scholars.” This is misleading to say the least because the author only listed straw-man arguments from opposing views.
  3. Fantastic, but unfortunate rhetoric. By making his statements as irrefutable facts that don’t have rational explanations and doing so in ways that make anyone that claims to believe in the authority of scripture look like total idiots, readers that are not well informed on the scrutinies listed will likely think the bible is completely discredited.
  4. Dishearteningly one-sided. This article assumes there are not opposing thoughts or deeper understanding and does so by not even mentioning other thoughts or the fact there are common and often basic explanations for such things.

If you would like to read much more thorough thoughts on this article I would recommend Al Mohler’s blog or Michael Kruger’s blog.

THE BOOK
Student 40 Days in the Word Campaign

Week 1: The Authority of the Bible
Where did the Bible come from? How did we end up with the Bible we have today even though it is several thousand years old? How is the Bible different than other holy books like the Koran or the book or Mormon? Didn’t men just write it? The Bible is our only rule for faith and practice and was written by the inspiration of God and preserved for us without error today. But here’s the dirty little secret of Christians: no one reads it.

Week 2: Love, God
Why was the Bible written? The Bible is God’s love letter to us. The Bible tells Jesus story. The Bible reveals so much about life, God and eternity. We’ll cover the whole Bible themes as a whole and end with the idea that the Bible essentially ends with “Love, God” and then gives us ultimate challenge to love God.

Week 3: Bible Words You Need to Know
There are some huge words and concepts in the Bible that need to be explained and reveal huge truths about God and our relationship with Him. What does “sanctification” mean? How are we “born again”? Does “Ask Jesus into my heart” appear anywhere in the Bible? These questions and more in this message about Christian language you might here at church.

Week 4: OT Survey
An overview of the entire Old Testament in 30 minutes. We’ll cover each of the major divisions of the first half of the Bible and hit on themes and observations from a look at 35,000ft. A clothesline on stage will be hung with pictures of various important events covered in the Scripture.

Week 5: NT Survey
An overview of the entire New Testament in 30 minutes. We’ll cover each of the major divisions of the first half of the Bible and hit on themes and observations from a look at 35,000ft. A clothesline on stage will be hung with pictures of various important events covered in the Scripture.

Week 6: How to Study the Bible
This weekend we’ll cover the basics on how to study the Bible. We’ll do our best to explain and make practical the Bible study techniques of observation, illumination, meditation, interpretation and application. The message will end with a recap of the series as well as a challenge to spend time with God every day.

JG